I was excited for a first date — I ended up in a wheelchair


It’s a  — for all the wrong reasons.

Kiaha Kurek was excited to go out with a man she connected with on Plenty of Fish in 2012, a meeting she says ended in a horrific car crash

Kurek, 35, recalls being in the car with her date as he drove them to a movie theater, when he stopped mid-turn, causing another vehicle to collide with them at 50 miles per hour.

“I remember being sat in the car, seeing headlights coming towards me and thinking, ‘This is the end,'” the Oregon-based catering business owner .

“I woke up, and my eyes were burning because blood was dripping into them,” she continued. “And I could hear a loud noise as the car was cut open.”


Kurek said she was told she might never walk again.

She had broken her pelvis and several ribs and had completely shattered her leg, which meant she required reconstructive surgery so pins could be inserted.

Kurek said she was told by doctors they didn’t know if she would walk again.Kiaha Kurek / SWNSShe was in an extreme amount of pain after the crash.Kiaha Kurek / SWNS

“I remembered coming out of surgery being in excruciating pain, and I was devastated when doctors told me I might not be able to walk properly again,” she recalled.


“I had to move back in with my parents, and I had to rely on other people to do everything, which was the worst part.”

A recovering Kurek said she received another blow — , and then she never heard from him again.

She claimed she also found out he was 19 years old and had only recently obtained his license, though he had told her he was 24.

It was six weeks before she managed to take a step by herself.Kiaha Kurek / SWNS


Kurek got tattoos on her leg to cover the scars from the crash.Kiaha Kurek / SWNS

Kurek said it took six weeks before she managed to take a step by herself and months of using a wheelchair before she was back on her feet.

Recovery took a year in total, with her moving to a walker after the wheelchair, then crutches, then a cane, before finally walking unassisted.

Traumatized by her leg scars, Kurek covered them with tattoos in an effort to forget her “worst date ever.”

The pain of her recovery didn’t stop there, with Kurek reporting that she had to file for bankruptcy due to having $1 million in medical expenses.


Kurek is now happily married to a man she says is nothing like her date from hell.Kiaha Kurek / SWNS

She said she opted not to sue her date, and wants to put the crash behind her.

“When it comes to dating, you have to be aware of how much trust you put in people,” Kurek advised. “Trust your gut instinct — if it says don’t get in the car, listen to it. Listen every time.”

More than a decade after the tragic crash, she is blissfully married to Bartek Kurek, who she says is “nothing” like her date from hell.



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